Sometimes Bao felt like she belonged in a different world. She had memories of living in trees and the taste of insects on her tongue all the time growing up. Like a bird, they planted themselves in her mind. They weren’t bad thoughts and in times like these, she wished she could go into her head and spread her wings in a completely different world. Not that she made it a habit of slapping people. It was definitely a spur of the moment decision. Something pulled her to physically hurt Adel, and she had no idea why. Bao was also shocked by the words that came out of her mouth before she came storming out of her office. What did it mean? The more she thought about it the more her head hurt. It must have been karma for earlier.

Now here she was sitting at the edge of the creek. She had no answers for anyone, and she hoped no one asked her. She was staring solemnly at the creek when she heard footsteps coming behind her. She sighed and stood up. It was probably Andy or Erin on their way to tell her a police officer was on his way to arrest her. It did not sound like the worse thing though; she hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep in a while.

She turned to face the sound and was shocked to be facing Adel. She did not take another step.
Adel continued approaching and held her hands up, palms facing Bao.

“Look,” Adel said. Slightly hesitant.

“I’m not going to hit you.” Bao spurted out. There was so much running through her head, that was the first thing she could get out.

“Again,” Adel said mockingly, her hands still up.

  • She did not know how she went from hesitant to slightly amused by Adel’s humor

Bao immediately thought this woman was out of her mind. She had slapped her and now she was going to extort Bao for her business? She was not even a month in and she was going to go out of business. But why was she smiling? She seemed sincere.

“What is that supposed to mean". Bao said, trying to control her fear.

“Take me out to lunch,”

Now Bao was, even more, confused, this woman-Adel now wanted to go—on a date. How did she even know Bao was lesbian, only a handful of people in town knew that.

“Um..” Bao was still so confused, and skeptical. What was this woman’s angle...

“Great, I’ll see you at noon tomorrow.” And just like that, Adel proceeded to head back to the restaurant. Bao just stood like a statue. What just happened? She shook her head and walked back to her restaurant. Getting arrested would have made more sense she thought to herself.

It was the morning of her date with a mysterious running slapping woman, Adel thought as she tied her shoes. She was going to get a run in before lunch so she could work up an appetite. This woman-Bao-did owe her, so Adel was going to splurge. Her tongue started salivating as she imagined a medium steak with caramelized onions sitting next to fresh broccoli and the fattest baked potato anyone had ever seen and that would only be the first course, she chuckled to herself.

As Adel ran her usual morning route, she started seeing the town in a new light. The weather in a beach town actually was not too horrible, the air actually increased her endurance, or so she told herself. She smiled thinking about Bao taking her out to a sweet beach spot with oysters and clams and delicate mussels. Maybe she could stay awhile, she thought as she finished her last mile and headed up towards the inn.

She hadn’t seen Bruce since the incident at the café. She figured he was probably busy with the painting of the inn, which was slowly looking better and better. June still could not take a hint and continued blowing up her phone. She was not ignoring her exactly, she called June last night and she tore Adel a new one for not having breakfast with her. Then this morning she attempted to do the same when Adel enlightened her she would not be making it to breakfast today either, but Adel hung up. She’ll pay for that later she thought as she peeled off her clothes and headed to the shower.

Bao tried everything. She had down chai tea, splashed her face with freezing cold water, even mediated in downward dog to get rid of the jitters she had, nothing helped. Bao did not go on dates often, actually, this was not a date. This was just so they could sweep Bao’s outburst underneath the rug. Nothing more and nothing less. She wishes she could get her body to believe that. She stood outside Bruce’s inn feeling like she was going to explode. She kept staring at the entrance of the inn not sure what to expect

She was adjusting her hold on her picnic basket when Adel came bounding out of the inn. A smile crept upon her face. She was not sure why but she had been looking forward to this date with this woman. She had been so engrossed with opening her business nothing else had her attention, well that was not entirely true. Bao busied herself with her café, aways looking for something to do so she did not have to spend the humid nights, alone wrapped in sweat damped sheets. The only time she broke away from her routine was on her weekly hospital visits.
Adel waved a hand in front of Bao’s face, indicating she was ready to go. She eyed the basket Bao had in her hand. Bao suddenly felt subconscious. After not being able to sleep all night, she woke up at 2am and started hand rolling sushi. She had learned from a past love and as everything crumbled away from that relationship, her sushi skills were the only thing that seemed to last.

Adel and Bao were halfway to the spot they first met before they realized it. Bao thought she was following Adel and Adel thought she was following Bao. They simply shrugged and began laying out the contents of the basket on top of the hill.
There were six rolls of California rolls coupled with gingerly wrapped dragon rolls. A bowl of soy sauce sat perfectly in the middle. Bao handed Adel her soy sauce and they both dug in. They were only chopsticks away at this point. Half of the dragon rolls were gone before they actually spoke to each other.

Bao looked over at Adel until she returned her gaze.
“I really am sorry,” Bao said.
Adel dipped a California roll into her soy sauce, she chews slowly with her eyes closed. After what feels like forever, she opens her eyes.
“Well, your apology was definitely delicious.”
Bao smiled, “Great, I feel less like a bully.”
“I don’t mind you being my bully,” Adel responded.
Bao coughed on her roll. Did she just openly flirt with her. It felt good, exhilarating. Someone was actually showing an interest in her, compared to.. well.
Adel continued smiling at Bao. She felt her cheeks slowly getting red, luckily it was not obvious because of her chocolate skin. She could not remember feeling like this in a while. It had felt like she had been doing everything for other people and not herself.

“I'm happy we are finally talking, especially since I'm not laying in a creek.” Bao finally responded.
“It was definitely an unforgettable impression,” Adel said, barely containing her laughter.
They sat for a moment just looking into each other. For the first time in a while, she felt warm. She wasn’t sure if she should chase that feeling or shy away.
And just like that, there was no sushi left but the latter seemed the case for Adel and Bao. Bao found herself telling Adel her life story. Or more like every mistake, she made from the age of seven. The time she touched a dead bee’s butt when she was six. She was convinced it wouldn’t sting her but she guessed the bee had a little more juice left When she was 13, she kissed a boy. She felt so dirty about it. Especially when he gave her a dollar afterward. And then there was the most recent time. When she thought she was in love, only to find out it was more work then anyone had ever told her.

Adel began slowly packing up the picnic. Bao watched her, not sure how to tell her that she needed more..of this. Her.

Bao walked Adel home, them both pinky promising that they would see each other again for their morning run.